This sermon is part of the sermon series The Hope of Holy Week.See series.
At Westminster Abbey in London there is an impressive monument to G. F. Handel, sculpted by the Frenchman Louis-Francois Roubiliac. The great composer stands against a tableau of musical instruments, holding a sheet of music that reads: "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God."
Handel's monument is doubly appropriate. First, it preserves in stone the memory of one of the sweetest melodies from Messiah, the composer's greatest masterpiece. But more than that, it expresses Handel's only hope of immortality. There is in the soul of every man a desire to live forever in the presence of God. But not even Handel's music—as great as it is—can make him truly immortal. Eternal life only comes from the Redeemer Jesus Christ, who is alive by the power of his resurrection, and who has promised to make every believer see the glory of God.
The resurrection of Christ was mentioned already in Part II of Messiah, with a promise from Psalm 16: "But thou didst not leave his soul in hell, nor didst thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption." The oratorio proceeded to describe the Messiah's ascension to heaven, followed by the extension of his kingdom. The work seemed to reach its musical and theological climax at the end of Part II, with the famous Hallelujah Chorus: "The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever."
The Messiah's work is not finished, however. If his people are to join the everlasting song, they too must be raised from the dead. Thus Part III of Messiah celebrates the bodily resurrection of God's people, including ...
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